Derailment in Northern India Kills at Least 23

At least 22 people have been killed in a train derailment near the Indian town of Khatauli

At least 22 people have been killed in a train derailment near the Indian town of Khatauli. RAJAT GUPTA

Another 156 people were injured when 14 carriages came off the tracks in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh state, 130 kilometers from New Delhi, on Saturday evening.

A police official earlier said 20 people had been injured but did not mention any people killed.

India began investigating on Sunday a train crash in which 23 people were killed, the fourth major accident over the past year on the world's fourth biggest rail network which is grappling with chronic under-investment and over-crowding.

The injured have been sent to local hospitals.

There are fears some passengers might be caught inside mangled coaches and death toll is likely to increase.

A Home Department official said 90 ambulances and four teams of the National Disaster Response Force did rescue work through the night but many relatives of the dead and injured complained of lack of ambulances.

Heavyweight cranes and gas cutters were used to lift displaced and overturned coaches and cut through their tangled remains. The accident was so severe that some of the derailed coaches mounted on others.

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The Madhya Pradesh twin train derailments happened on August 4, 2015 when the Kamayani Express, on its way to Varanasi in UP, was the first to derail owing to flash floods in the area, followed by the Janata Express.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath enquired about the accident and directed officials to take all possible action, an official spokesperson said.

One of the men in the audio clip apparently posted at a crossing near the accident site says "poor patrolling" on the track where maintenance work was under way was one of the causes. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the derailment.

"I am personally monitoring the situation". Kumar also said IMA chapters in Meerut zone have been alerted and asked to ensure adequate and prompt medical care to the injured.

"Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar".

The Railway Ministry was also in close touch with the Uttar Pradesh government to coordinate rescue and relief operations.

A year prior to that, 22 people lost their lives when the Gorakhdham Express rammed into a freight train near Khalilabad station in Sant Kabir Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh.

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